SKAO welcomes Canada’s intention to become full Observatory member

by SKAO on 24 January 2023
The SKA Observatory’s member country tally may rise following Canada's announcement that it intends to seek full SKAO membership.

Canada is an observer of the SKAO Council through the cooperation agreement that its National Research Council (NRC) signed with the Observatory in November 2021. Full membership is expected to provide Canadian astronomers a 6% use-share of the SKAO and support establishing a domestic regional centre. Such a centre will provide direct connections to data collected with the SKA telescopes and science support to enable ground-breaking discoveries.

The NRC’s Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre has been identified to represent Canada in the governance of the SKAO and will work with domestic and international partners to deliver key observatory systems. This includes the digital correlator, the all-important “brain” behind the SKA-Mid telescope in South Africa.

“Given Canada’s valued contribution to the SKA project since its earliest stages, I am delighted that the country intends to seek full membership of our Observatory,” said the SKAO’s Director-General, Prof. Philip Diamond. “It is only fitting that one of the global leaders in radio astronomy wishes to join the field’s most exciting new development officially.”

Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, said: “Membership in the SKAO will allow Canada to develop strong scientific, technical, and industrial capabilities and collaborations well into the future.”

The NRC pointed out in the release that for the SKAO, respecting Indigenous cultures and the local populations has been a key consideration from the start: “These core principles are fully aligned with the priorities of the Canadian astronomical community as expressed in the Canadian Astronomy Long Range Plan 2020-2030.”

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